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See detailSo close and so different: comparative phylogeography of two small mammal species, the yellow-necked fieldmouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and the woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) in the Western Palearctic region.
Michaux, Johan ULg; Libois, Roland ULg; Filippucci, M*-G

in Heredity (2005), 94(1), 52-63

In Europe, concordant geographical distribution among genetic lineages within different species is rare, which suggests distinct reactions to Quaternary ice ages. This study aims to determine whether such ... [more ▼]

In Europe, concordant geographical distribution among genetic lineages within different species is rare, which suggests distinct reactions to Quaternary ice ages. This study aims to determine whether such a discrepancy also affects a pair of sympatric species, which are morphologically and taxonomically closely related but which have slight differences in their ecological habits. The phylogeographic structures of two European rodents, the Yellow-necked fieldmouse (A. flavicollis) and the woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) were, therefore, compared on the basis of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b (mtDNA cyt b) sequences (965 base pairs) from 196 specimens collected from 59 European localities spread throughout the species distributions. The results indicate that the two species survived in different ways through the Quaternary glaciations. A. sylvaticus survived in the Iberian Peninsula from where it recolonized almost all Europe at the end of the last glaciation. Conversely, the refuge from which A. flavicollis recolonized Europe, including northern Spain, during the Holocene corresponds to the Italo-Balkan area, where A. sylvaticus suffered a serious genetic bottleneck. This study confirms that even closely related species may have highly different phylogeographic histories and shows the importance of ecological plasticity of the species for their survival through climate change. Finally, it suggests that phylogeographic distinctiveness may be a general feature of European species. [less ▲]

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See detailConservation genetics and population history of the threatened European mink Mustela lutreola, with an emphasis on the west European population.
Michaux, Johan ULg; Hardy, O. J.; Justy, F. et al

in Molecular Ecology (2005), 14(8), 2373-88

In species of great conservation concern, special attention must be paid to their phylogeography, in particular the origin of animals for captive breeding and reintroduction. The endangered European mink ... [more ▼]

In species of great conservation concern, special attention must be paid to their phylogeography, in particular the origin of animals for captive breeding and reintroduction. The endangered European mink lives now in at least three well-separated populations in northeast, southeast and west Europe. Our aim is to assess the genetic structure of these populations to identify 'distinct population segments' (DPS) and advise captive breeding programmes. First, the mtDNA control region was completely sequenced in 176 minks and 10 polecats. The analysis revealed that the western population is characterized by a single mtDNA haplotype that is closely related to those in eastern regions but nevertheless, not found there to date. The northeast European animals are much more variable (pi = 0.012, h = 0.939), with the southeast samples intermediate (pi = 0.0012, h = 0.469). Second, 155 European mink were genotyped using six microsatellites. The latter display the same trends of genetic diversity among regions as mtDNA [gene diversity and allelic richness highest in northeast Europe (H(E) = 0.539, R(S) = 3.76), lowest in west Europe (H(E) = 0.379, R(S) = 2.12)], and provide evidences that the southeast and possibly the west populations have undergone a recent bottleneck. Our results indicate that the western population derives from a few animals which recently colonized this region, possibly after a human introduction. Microsatellite data also reveal that isolation by distance occurs in the western population, causing some inbreeding because related individuals mate. As genetic data indicate that the three populations have not undergone independent evolutionary histories for long (no phylogeographical structure), they should not be considered as distinct DPS. In conclusion, the captive breeding programme should use animals from different parts of the species' present distribution area. [less ▲]

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See detailEcologie de la loutre (Lutra lutra) et conservation de ses habitats riverains
Libois, Roland ULg

in Actes du 1er colloque international "gestion et préservation des ressoures en eau" (2004, September)

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See detailDynamique d'une population de martins pêcheurs (Alcedo atthis) en Belgique en liaison avec la gestion des cours d'eau.
Libois, Roland ULg

in Actes du 1er colloque international "gestion et préservation des ressoures en eau" (2004, September)

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See detailRégime alimentaire des Plecotus en périodes préhivernale et hivernale en Belgique
MOTTE, Gregory; Libois, Roland ULg

in Symbioses (2004), 10

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See detailRégime alimentaire hivernal du busard des roseaux, Circus aeruginosus dans les marais de Brouage (Charente Maritime)
Ingenbleek, Aude; Cuisin, J.; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Annales de la Société des Sciences Naturelles de la Charente-Maritime (2004), 9(4), 389-398

The diet of European marsh harrier was studied from 555 pellets collected in the Marais de Brouage (Charente-Maritime) during four winters distributed over a 17 years period (1985-86 / 2001-02). A total ... [more ▼]

The diet of European marsh harrier was studied from 555 pellets collected in the Marais de Brouage (Charente-Maritime) during four winters distributed over a 17 years period (1985-86 / 2001-02). A total of 1074 prey items (70 taxa) were identified. The mammals are the most numerous (62.6%); three rodents represent half of the prey. The increase of coypu (Myocastor coypus) is the most important interannual variation, they currently represent more than the thrid of the prey [less ▲]

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See detailFood niche segregation between the Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata, and the Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, at Lake Nokoué, Bénin
Libois, Roland ULg; Laudelout, Arnaud

in Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology (2004), 75

Several species of kingfisher occur on Lake Nokoué, southern Bénin, including Malachite (Alcedo cristata) and Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). Here, we compare their diet and estimate the degree of ... [more ▼]

Several species of kingfisher occur on Lake Nokoué, southern Bénin, including Malachite (Alcedo cristata) and Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). Here, we compare their diet and estimate the degree of overlap in food niche by analysing contents of regurgitated pellets collected near nesting sites of Pied Kingfishers or inside the nest chambers of Malachite Kingfishers. Characteristic fish skull bones were identified using a reference collection of local fish skeletons. Malachite Kingfishers feed most frequently on fish that occur around floating vegetation, mainly Kribia sp. (56%), Hemichromis fasciatus (28%) and Sarotherodon melanotheron (8%). Important differences were found between different pairs, and between adults and nestlings, the latter being fed almost exclusively on Kribia sp. Larger fish are fed to nestlings than are eaten by the adults. Pied Kingfishers prey upon 14 different fish species, some of them being caught in the pelagic region of the lake, particularly clupeids taken by hovering. By comparison with Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers feed on a wider diversity of prey, and take larger fish, so that the dietary overlap between the species is relatively low (O = 0.181). [less ▲]

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See detailA parasite reveals cryptic phylogeographic history of its host.
Nieberding, C.; Morand, S.; Libois, Roland ULg et al

in Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences (2004), 271(1557), 2559-68

This study compares the continental phylogeographic patterns of two wild European species linked by a host-parasite relationship: the field mouse Apodemus sylvaticus and one of its specific parasites, the ... [more ▼]

This study compares the continental phylogeographic patterns of two wild European species linked by a host-parasite relationship: the field mouse Apodemus sylvaticus and one of its specific parasites, the nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus. A total of 740 base pairs (bp) of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene were sequenced in 122 specimens of H. polygyrus and compared with 94 cyt b gene sequences (974 bp) previously acquired for A. sylvaticus. The results reveal partial spatial and temporal congruences in the differentiation of both species' lineages: the parasite and its host present three similar genetic and geographical lineages, i.e. Western European, Italian and Sicilian, and both species recolonized northwestern Europe from the Iberian refuge at the end of the Pleistocene. However, H. polygyrus presents three particular differentiation events. The relative rate of molecular evolution of the cyt b gene was estimated to be 1.5-fold higher in the parasite than in its host. Therefore, the use of H. polygyrus as a biological magnifying glass is discussed as this parasite may highlight previously undetected historical events of its host. The results show how incorporating phylogeographic information of an obligate associate can help to better understand the phylogeographic pattern of its host. [less ▲]

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See detailPhylogeographic history of the yellow-necked fieldmouse (Apodemus flavicollis) in Europe and in the Near and Middle East.
Michaux, Johan ULg; Libois, Roland ULg; Paradis, E. et al

in Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution (2004), 32(3), 788-98

The exact location of glacial refugia and the patterns of postglacial range expansion of European mammals are not yet completely elucidated. Therefore, further detailed studies covering a large part of ... [more ▼]

The exact location of glacial refugia and the patterns of postglacial range expansion of European mammals are not yet completely elucidated. Therefore, further detailed studies covering a large part of the Western Palearctic region are still needed. In this order, we sequenced 972 bp of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b (mtDNA cyt b) from 124 yellow-necked fieldmice (Apodemus flavicollis) collected from 53 European localities. The aims of the study were to answer the following questions: Did the Mediterranean peninsulas act as the main refuge for yellow-necked fieldmouse or did the species also survive in more easterly refugia (the Caucasus or the southern Ural) and in Central Europe? What is the role of Turkey and Near East regions as Quaternary glacial refuges for this species and as a source for postglacial recolonisers of the Western Palearctic region? The results provide a clear picture of the impact of the quaternary glaciations on the genetic and geographic structure of the fieldmouse. This species survived the ice ages in two main refuges, the first one in the Italo-Balkan region; the second one in Turkey and the Near East regions. It is from the Balkan refuge that it recolonised all European regions at the end of the last glaciation. The Turkish and Near East populations are distinct from the European ones and they did not recolonise the Palearctic region probably because: (i) they were blocked by the Black Sea and the Caucasus, (ii) the long term presence of fieldmice populations in the Balkans prevented their expansion. These are genetically differentiated from the European and Russian ones and could be described as a particular subspecies. This result emphasises the importance of Turkey and the Near and Middle East regions as a refuge for Palearctic mammals. [less ▲]

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See detailIs the western population of the European mink, (Mustela lutreola), a distinct Management Unit for conservation?
Michaux, Johan ULg; Libois, Roland ULg; Davison, A. et al

in Biological Conservation (2004), 115(3), 357-367

The European mink (Mustela lutreola) is one of the most threatened carnivores in Europe, with fragmented populations in Belarus. Russia and Romania, as well in south-western France and northern Spain ... [more ▼]

The European mink (Mustela lutreola) is one of the most threatened carnivores in Europe, with fragmented populations in Belarus. Russia and Romania, as well in south-western France and northern Spain. Many populations have become extinct recently, or are declining. We investigated mitochondrial DNA variation, using the complete D-loop region, and concentrating oil the west European population. The aim was two-fold: to use the genetic information to advise on the conservation of European mink, and to begin to understand their history through the Pleistocene. Captive breeding and re-introduction programmes are underway, so it is particularly vital to know whether the West European population should be treated separately. We find that European mink probably colonised from a single refugium after the last glaciation. West European populations may be fixed for a single haplotype. also suggesting a common origin. Despite this evidence for gene flow, following the precautionary principle we suggest that mink from the three geographically separate populations (Romania, Eastern and Western Europe) should be managed separately, for the moment. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution to the phylogeography of the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus)
Libois, Roland ULg; Michaux, J; Ramalhinho, Maria da Graça et al

in Macholan, Milos; Bryja, Josef; Zima, Jan (Eds.) European Mammalogy 2003 (2003, July)

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See detailLe lérot: trois études en une enquête
Libois, Roland ULg

Learning material (2003)

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See detailConservation biology of the French and Iberic threatened European mink, Mustela lutreola
Michaux, J; Libois, Roland ULg; Davison, Angus et al

Poster (2003)

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See detailZoogeography of the chromosomal races of the garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus, in France
Ramalhinho, Maria da Graça; Libois, Roland ULg; Lestro, Maria et al

Poster (2003)

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See detailAfrique de l'Ouest: commerce d'oiseaux pas comme les autres
Libois, Roland ULg; Lougbégnon, Olou

Learning material (2003)

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See detailOn the feeding ecology of the pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis at Lake Nokoué, Benin. Is there competition with fishermen ?
Laudelout, Arnaud; Libois, Roland ULg

in Cowx I.G. (Ed.) Interactions between fish and birds: implications for management (2003)

Lake Noukoué in southern Benin, is heavily exploited fishery, but it is also inhabited by numerous piscivorous birds, escpecially kingfishers. This study considers the similarity between the diet of ... [more ▼]

Lake Noukoué in southern Benin, is heavily exploited fishery, but it is also inhabited by numerous piscivorous birds, escpecially kingfishers. This study considers the similarity between the diet of kingfishers and fish available on the local market between mid-February to mi-May 1999, durng a low water level preriod. Excretory pellets were collected on the top of breeding banks and inside brood chambers. The diet was determined by comparing the bones recovered from the pellets with a reference collection. Eighteen prey categories were recognised in the 1099 diagnostic items. Kingfishers preyed mostly on cichlids (Sarotherodon melanotheron Rüppell and Hemichromis fasciatus Peters), clupeids (Ethmalosa fimbria (Bowdich)), eleotrids (Kribia sp.) and Hyporhamphus picarti (Val.). Prey size of H. fasciatus ranged from 22 to 73 mm (46.4 +/- 11.6 mm) and S. melanotheron from 24 to 65 mm (44 +/- 9.2 mm). The compositionof the diet varied depending on time and location. Overlap with marketed fish is limitid to S. melanotheron. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial phylogeography of the Woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) in the Western Palearctic region.
Michaux, Johan ULg; Magnanou, E.; Paradis, E. et al

in Molecular Ecology (2003), 12(3), 685-97

We sequenced 965 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b from 102 woodmice (Apodemus sylvaticus) collected from 40 European localities. The aims of the study were to answer the following ... [more ▼]

We sequenced 965 base pairs of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome b from 102 woodmice (Apodemus sylvaticus) collected from 40 European localities. The aims of the study were to answer the following questions. (i) Did the Mediterranean peninsulas play a role as refuge for woodmice? (ii) Is genetic variability of A. sylvaticus higher in the Mediterranean region compared with northern Europe? (iii) Are the patterns of the postglacial colonization of Europe by woodmice similar to those presently recognized for other European species? The results provide a clear picture of the impact of the Quaternary glaciations on the genetic and geographical structure of the woodmouse. Our analyses indicate a higher genetic variability of woodmice in the Mediterranean peninsulas compared to northern Europe, suggesting a role of the former as refuge regions for this small mammal. An original pattern of postglacial colonization is proposed where the Iberian and southern France refuge populations colonized almost all European regions. The Sicilian population appears to be very differentiated and highly variable. This emphasizes the importance of this island as a 'hot spot' for the intraspecific genetic diversity of the woodmouse. Finally, woodmice in North Africa originated from southwestern Europe, most probably as a result of a recent anthropogenic introduction. [less ▲]

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